While a majority of people identify as "heterosexual" if asked about their sexual identity, what does that really mean? How did identifying as "straight" arise, particularly in relation to identifying as "queer," "lesbian," and "gay"? How are individuals socialized to view themselves and others as straight, even when many people are sexually fluid? How do institutions like government bodies, the educational system, and the family reinforce heterosexuality? This collection introduces the field of Critical Heterosexualities Studies and key lines of inquiry within the field.
Like Masculinity Studies and Whiteness Studies, Heterosexualities Studies critically examines the dominant category and identity group in order to illuminate the taken-for-granted assumptions that surround heterosexual identities. This critical perspective questions the idea that heterosexuality is natural, normal, and biologically driven. A recurring question throughout this Handbook is: what does it mean to say that there are multiple forms of heterosexuality? The answer is provided by cases showing how straightness varies between men and women but also across different racial groups, social classes, and one’s status as trans or cisgender.
Organized around key themes of inquiry including heterosexualities across the life course, straight identities and their intersections, the power of straightness in state politics, and the changing meaning of heterosexualities in the context of sexual fluidity, this collection provides readers with an introduction to Critical Heterosexualities Studies through important theoretical statements, key historical studies, and current empirical research. Featuring both classic works and original essays written expressly for this volume, this collection provides a state-of-the-art overview of this exciting new field in sexualities studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Thinking Straightness: An Introduction to Critical Heterosexualities Studies
James Joseph Dean and Nancy L. Fischer
Part 1: Origins, Histories, Theories
1. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence
Adrienne Cecile Rich
2. Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions
3. The Invention of Heterosexuality
Jonathan Ned Katz
4. Critique of Compulsory Heterosexuality
Part 2: Heterosexualities Across the Life Course
5. Normalizing Heterosexuality: Mothers’ Assumptions, Talk, and Strategies with Young Children
Karin A. Martin
6. "Your Father Wouldn’t Like It:" The Social Construction of Heterosexuality in Early Childhood
Emily W. Kane
7. "Coming Out": Gender, (Hetero)Sexuality and the Primary School
8. The Ambiguity of "Having Sex": The Subjective Experience of Virginity Loss in the United States
Laura M. Carpenter
9. Hooking Up: Hot Heterosex or the New Numb Normative?
Rachel Kalish and Michael Kimmel
10. "Speaking as a Heterosexual": (How) Does Sexuality Matter for Talk-in-Interaction?
11. A Heterosexual Life: Older Women and Agency within Marriage and the Family
Jenny Hockey, Angela Meah, and Victoria Robinson
Part 3: Straight Identities and Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender
12. Prisons for Our Bodies, Closets for Our Minds: Racism, Heterosexism, and Black Sexuality
Patricia Hill Collins
13. Displaying Heterosexuality in An Inner City
Carissa M. Froyum
14. Straight Women: Doing and Undoing Compulsory Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted American Culture
James Joseph Dean
15. "Guys are Just Homophobic": Rethinking Adolescent Homophobia and Heterosexuality
16. "Sprinkle Some Gay on my Straight": Hybrid Hegemonic Masculinities in a Post-Gay Era
Tristan Bridges and Kendell Ota
17. Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: "Gender Normals", Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality
Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook
Part 4: Straight States
18. Introduction to "The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America"
19. Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Bill: Reflections from a Transnational Frame
20. One is not Born a Bride: How Weddings Regulate Heterosexuality
21. Promoting Marriage for America: The Intimate Relationship Between the State and Heterosexuality
Part 5: Rethinking Sexual Fluidity, Straight Privilege, and Allyship
22. Straight Girls Kissing: Heteroflexibility in the College Party Scene
Leila J. Rupp, Verta Taylor and Janelle M. Pham
23. A Mixed-Method Study of Same-Sex Kissing among College-Attending Heterosexual Men
Eric Anderson and Mark McCormack
24. Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity Among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex with Men
25. ‘Straight with a Pinch of Bi’: The Contours of Male Heteroflexibility
Hector Carrillo and Amanda Hoffman
26. No Homo
Joshua R. Brown
27. "With Allies Like These…": Toward a Sociology of Straight Allies
Patrick R. Grzanka
James Joseph Dean is Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University in Northern California. He is the author of Straights: Heterosexuality in Post-Closeted Culture (2014). Dean's work has appeared in Contexts, Sexualities, The Sociological Quarterly, and Sociology Compass, among others. His research interests include LGBTQ studies, Critical Heterosexualities Studies, and transgender studies.
Nancy L. Fischer is Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Nancy is a co-editor of the anthology Introducing the New Sexuality Studies (along with Steven Seidman). She also edited a special issue on contemporary heterosexuality studies for the journal The Sociological Quarterly. She is a former chair and secretary of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sexualities. A sociologist with broad interests, she has written about incest, sexual morality, urban sustainability, and the social meaning of second-hand and vintage clothing.